Industrial Development

Ceisteanna (185)

Tom Fleming

Ceist:

185. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps being taken to promote County Kerry as a location for foreign direct investment, given the enhanced and regional aid status given to County Kerry as a disadvantaged region; the progress in attracting jobs to the county since this initiative was introduced in 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41411/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

IDA Ireland markets Kerry as part of its South West region, along with Cork. There are 12 IDA Ireland client companies, employing 1,874 people. IDA Ireland-supported companies in Kerry brought 361 additional new jobs to the county between 2011–2014. This is a marked increase on the period 2008–2010 when 502 jobs were lost. 70% of all new IDA Ireland jobs come from existing client companies, so it is imperative that we ensure that the local supports are provided to maintain these companies’ presence in Ireland. IDA Ireland launched its new five-year strategy entitled Winning – Foreign Direct Investment 2015-2019 in April 2015. This strategy has a strong focus on regional development, setting forth aims and strategies to achieve a significant increase in investment going into regional locations. To support that aim, IDA Ireland is rolling out a €150million capital investment programme to help attract more multinational jobs into each region over a 5-year period.

This programme will also include investments over the coming years in building advanced technology buildings and office facilities in a number of regional locations to provide state-of-the-art property solutions for clients. Tralee is to be the site of one such advanced technology building.

Marketing of any regional area, including Kerry, for FDI is done through IDA Ireland’s network of overseas offices. IDA Ireland actively incentivises and encourages investors to consider a range of potential locations in Ireland although the ultimate locations selected are always decided by the companies themselves.

The reinstatement of Regional Aid for Co. Kerry under the new Regional Aid Guidelines, which came into force on 1st July, 2014, is a further boost to the county. The RAGs enable the State to grant State Aid to businesses at enhanced rates in order to support new investment and new employment in productive projects in Ireland's most disadvantaged regions. The funding for this comes from the Exchequer. This means that the full range of Regional Aid assistance options are available in Kerry.

In July 2015, IDA Ireland with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation launched the South West Regional Action Plan for Jobs, which highlights working with the other agencies and local stakeholders to improve enterprise development and identify job creation opportunities at regional level. IDA Ireland engages particularly with Enterprise Ireland regarding the supply chain that can be in a position to encourage and support Foreign Direct Investment.

It is important to recognise that only 8% of employment is in IDA supported companies nationally. The Action Plan for Jobs and the Regional Action Plans are committed to developing an indigenous engine of growth. In the period 2011-2014 Enterprise Ireland supported companies created an extra 370 jobs in Kerry (9% increase), while companies supported by the Kerry LEO added 85 new jobs in 2014 (5% increase).

Trade Missions

Ceisteanna (186)

Seán Kenny

Ceist:

186. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of his recent trade mission to the United States of America; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41430/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

Foreign direct investment is at the heart of this Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. Since we took office, multinational companies have added more than 18,000 direct jobs in Ireland, which has had a significant knock-on effect on employment across the country. Our aim is to deepen and broaden that impact even further to create and maintain even more jobs.

American investment is crucial to Ireland’s economic success. The US is the greatest source of FDI in Ireland, accounting for over 70% of all FDI currently in Ireland. Approximately 630 corporations employ 125,000 directly in a broad range of sectors such as information technology, biopharma, medical technology and financial services. Ireland is the number one export platform for US companies. IDA Ireland client companies export 60% of everything they produce to other European countries. It is as a result of all of this that US companies contribute greatly to the strategic regional focus of IDA Ireland.

I visited the East Coast of the US (New York and Boston) on a trade mission from Monday 26th October to Friday 30th October 2015 and was accompanied by the CEO of IDA Ireland, Mr. Martin Shanahan.

My schedule included twelve individual meetings with IDA Ireland-client companies in the New York and Boston area. These meetings provided me with an opportunity to engage directly with companies promoting Ireland as a location for investment across a wide range of fields, from research and development to manufacturing to business services. Meetings took place with CEOs and executives at senior level in both existing and key target clients.

I also attended two breakfast meetings organised by IDA Ireland, which were attended by clients from the emerging, technology, financial services and life science sectors.

Ireland scores highly in global business rankings and continues to attract companies from a variety of sectors including ICT, life sciences, financial services, engineering, digital media, games and social media. Ireland has a rich history of achievements in Science & Technology and continues to invest in its research and technology capabilities.

Ireland’s success in attracting foreign direct investment requires a clear focus on improving and enhancing the national competitive environment, easing the impediments to business investment and encouraging job creation. Targeting of specific growth sectors and business models, increased competitiveness and an improved international reputation are key factors that contributed to the strong results in recent years, all of which must be maintained in the future.

Industrial Development

Ceisteanna (187)

Seán Kenny

Ceist:

187. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps that the Industrial Development Agency Ireland and Enterprise Ireland are taking to create employment in an area (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41431/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

I am informed by IDA Ireland that they do not own any marketable land on the Baldoyle Industrial Estate. The Agency is aware of privately owned industrial space on the estate and has assured me that it will promote this land as part of its marketing efforts, in response to specific client queries and also where the opportunities arise for the purpose of winning FDI projects for the county. There are a number of vacant large scale industrial units in the nearby Clonshaugh Business and Technology Park, and IDA Ireland continues to market these as part of its overall value proposition for Dublin.

According to the 2014 Annual Employment Survey there are 596 IDA client companies employing in total 70,989 people located in the greater Dublin area. There are also 1,607 Enterprise Ireland client companies in Dublin employing 25,604 people. 387 of these companies are in the Fingal catchment area and employ 6,402 people.

Dublin continues to perform well and in 2015 to date, IDA Ireland has announced 53 client investments in Dublin which are expected to create in excess of 4,500 new jobs over the coming years.

IDA Ireland’s strategy for Dublin includes progressing the development of a knowledge economy in order that the region can compete both nationally and internationally for foreign direct investment; working with the existing client base in Dublin to encourage them to expand and diversify into higher value added good and services; acting as a broker with the higher education authorities, key client companies and Science Foundation Ireland to encourage further research and development; providing modern property solutions with supporting infrastructure; and working with local authorities and other relevant agencies to influence the delivery of the necessary infrastructure in the county.

In addition to the Clonshaugh Business and Technology Park I previously mentioned, Dublin has a variety of high quality manufacturing and office buildings in well maintained business and technology parks owned by IDA Ireland and private developers strategically placed throughout the county that are well capable of providing immediate property solutions.

Action Plan for Jobs

Ceisteanna (188)

James Bannon

Ceist:

188. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the provision of funding to a project (details supplied) in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41547/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

In February 2015, as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs: Regional Initiative, I announced details of a 5-year, €250 million strategy, aimed at accelerating jobs recovery in every part of the country. As part of this strategy up to €100 million in Enterprise Ireland funding will be made available over 5 years through a series of competitive calls. Funding will be allocated on a competitive basis, with most funds awarded to regional projects offering the best prospects for job-creation. A first tranche of €50 million will be made available in the period 2015 – 2017. Within the €50m there are 3 initiatives -

1. a €5m Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Competitive Call ( launched in May 2015), to fund initiatives impacting on and supporting micro-enterprise throughout the country.

2. a €5m Community Enterprise Initiative Scheme (launched in May 2015), to support collaborative proposals to promote entrepreneurship, create jobs, foster innovation and enhance export opportunities for small business.

3. funding under a third broader competitive regional call (2015 -2017) of up to €40 million to support significant projects or initiatives to improve or leverage identified enterprise capability in the region: Such projects will be:

- Industry-driven project/s that leverage identified regional strengths and sectoral opportunities.

- Collaborative in nature, involving key stakeholders (private-private/public-private) in a region or across more than one region. The collaboration may take the form of “clusters” and “enterprise hubs”, a further deepening of SME-Higher Education Sector engagement in regions, and/or formal structures and teams to drive collaborative projects.

- Able to demonstrate clear benefits to the enterprise base and the region/s (for example, increased design-led innovation, enterprise capability, procurement and supply chain opportunities, start-up activity, etc).

To inform the scoping of the third broad competitive regional funding call of €40m, Enterprise Ireland launched a Call for Expression of Ideas for Regional Initiatives in July 2015, to help identify potential areas of enterprise and sectoral opportunities in regions across the country. The submissions received are being used to shape appropriate interventions and schemes that are aimed at driving the objectives I outlined in February 2015 and to identify gaps where no existing funding interventions exists from local or national public bodies.

It is important to state that submitted ideas under this call does not confer any advantage on subsequent funding applications to Enterprise Ireland nor does it in any way indicate an intention by Enterprise Ireland to make a financial commitment.

All 3 initiatives listed above are work in progress. The submissions are currently being assessed and evaluated and a number of projects require clarification on areas such as policy, project costings, impact on job creation, duplication with other initiatives etc. No final decisions have been made on any allocation of funding to applicants. Therefore, I am not in a position to make a statement regarding the specific project regarding County Longford.

Startup Funding

Ceisteanna (189)

Tom Fleming

Ceist:

189. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the €500,000 competitive start fund in encouraging entrepreneurs and members of the diaspora to set up here; the response to date by start-up enterprises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41573/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

Targeting start-ups and early stage companies that have the capability to succeed in global markets, the objective of this call was to attract international entrepreneurs and members of the Irish diaspora to start, scale and succeed from Ireland, ultimately creating jobs in Ireland. A call for applications to the Competitive Start Fund from International Entrepreneurs was launched on 26th August 2015. 87 applications were received by the closing date of 9th September 2015. The applications came from both Irish nationals living abroad and non-nationals from a wide variety of countries including Albania, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, India, Italy, Macedonia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Following the call the twenty highest scoring projects were invited to pitch to a panel of external industry experts and EI representatives.

Ten projects were selected and each has been offered €50k investment in return for a 10% equity stake. Enterprise Ireland understands that all of the successful applicants intend to take up the offer of funding and locate here.

Employment Rights

Ceisteanna (190)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

190. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if there is legislation which specifically protects the rights of paid and unpaid interns; if there is a legal definition of what an unpaid internship should entail, for example, whether it has to include some educational element; if there is any statutory upper limit to the length of time a person may undertake an unpaid internship; if he will clarify the duties and responsibilities of an employer towards an unpaid intern under employment legislation. [41605/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

Arrangements which may be described as internships are not defined by Irish legislation. Depending on the particulars of the individual arrangement, the participants may have entitlements to protection under employment law. Any persons with questions or complaints regarding their rights under employment law should contact Workplace Relations Customer Service on lo-call 1890 80 80 90 or at www.workplacerelations.ie. Ireland’s body of employment rights legislation protects all employees who are legally employed on an employer-employee basis. Therefore, once it is clear that a person is working under a contract of employment, on a full-time or part-time basis, that person has the same protection under employment law as other employees.

The JobBridge scheme is the national internship scheme administered by the Department of Social Protection. The legislation underpinning the JobBridge scheme specifically provides that a participant shall, for the purposes of any enactment or rule of law (other than the Tax Acts and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005), be deemed not to be an employee. Any complaints regarding compliance with the scheme should be addressed to that Department.

As regards occupational health and safety legislation, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires employers to ensure that working conditions are such as will protect the safety, health and welfare at work of employees. It also requires employers to manage their business in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that individuals at the place of work who are not employees, are not exposed to risks to their safety, health or welfare.

Firearms Licences

Ceisteanna (191)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

191. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of the 95 military licences issued during 2014 which were issued to persons holding sports firearms, and to companies engaged in mining activity. [41648/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

As the Deputy notes, my Department issued 95 military licences during 2014. Under Irish law, military export licences must be sought in respect of the goods and technology, and any components thereof, listed in the Annex to the Control of Exports (Goods and Technology) Order, SI.216 of 2012 which reflects the EU Common Military List. During 2014 eight military licences were issued to companies engaged in mining activity. Seven licences were issued in respect of the export of sporting/historical firearms or components thereof.

Information on the categories in which military licences are issued is included in periodic reports published by my Department on our licensing activity. These reports provide a full breakdown of the category, value and destination of military licences. Previously published reports provide such detailed information for the years 2008 – 2012 inclusive.

A report providing this information for 2013 and 2014 will be published by my Department before year-end. These reports are published in addition to the summary licensing data provided every six months by my Department on its website.

Exports Data

Ceisteanna (192)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

192. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of the 680 dual-use licences that were issued in 2014, which were for commercial purposes. [41649/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

As the Deputy notes, my Department issued 680 Individual Dual-Use licences during 2014. Dual-use items are controlled pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No. 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items. Of these 680 licences, 660 were issued for commercial purposes. Twenty were issued in respect of exports to entities involved in the manufacture, repair or sale of military equipment.

EU Directives

Ceisteanna (193)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

193. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he is drafting legislation or a statutory instrument to transpose the European Union physical agents directive (EMF) 2004/40/EC; if his Department or the Health and Safety Authority have consulted with the relevant professional bodies in the medical field, such as the Irish Association of Physicists in Medicine, as the transposition of this directive may have a significant impact on the operation and use of magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, scanners; the outcome of these consultations; if a working group has been formed to examine this issue, in view of the transposition deadline being 1 July 2016. [41662/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

There has been no legislation or statutory instrument drafted to transpose the provisions of Directive 2004/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) into Irish law. This Directive has now been replaced by a new Directive [Council Directive 2013/35/EU of 26 June 2013] with revised exposure limit values which are higher than those set out in Directive 2004/40/EC but in line with scientific evidence. In addition, conditional exemptions are allowed for the use and development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which will remain subject to the general EMF risk management requirements and will be covered by the new Directive.

The Deputy should note that Directive 2004/40/EC was not transposed into national law nor was it transposed into national law in the majority of the EU Member States as its requirements were considered unnecessarily burdensome especially as regards the use of MRI equipment in the healthcare sector. As no draft text for transposition purposes was produced no direct consultation was undertaken in regard to Directive 2004/40/EC.

Directive 2013/35/EU on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) has a transposition deadline of 1 July 2016. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is the agency with responsibility for enforcing the measures which will give effect to this Directive in Ireland.

As part of the transposition process the Authority prepared a Regulatory Impact Assessment and this together with a set of draft Regulations was made available on the HSA website as part of a public consultation in June/July 2015. At that time the Authority contacted members of the Irish Association of Physicists in Medicine to inform them of the public consultation.

The Authority has now in accordance with the provisions of section 57 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, produced a draft set of Regulations which are being scrutinised by departmental officials in advance of settlement by legal counsel. I am satisfied that the consultation process engaged in by the HSA was sufficient to gain an understanding of the issues arising.

Job Retention

Ceisteanna (194)

Tom Fleming

Ceist:

194. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will intervene as a State investor for the stalled liquified gas terminal and combined heat and power plant of Tarbert-Ballylongford, County Kerry due to the withdrawal by the Hess Corporation Investment Company from the project, and as Shannon LNG Limited has spent €63 million on the project to date, it is imperative that the Government would ensure that the viability of this development will be progressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41681/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

This project falls outside of the remit of my Department. I understand that representatives of Shannon LNG have had meetings with government officials in the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to discuss various issues. Along with Government colleagues, I am supportive of the proposal by Shannon LNG to construct a LNG terminal near Ballylongford, County Kerry, however the decision of the Hess Corporation Investment Company to advance the Shannon LNG project is a commercial matter for the company.

Shannon LNG currently has an option with Shannon Commercial Properties to buy a site in Ballylongford, Shannon Commercial Property is part of the Shannon Group which comes under the remit of the Minister for Transport, Tourist and Sport.

The Shannon Estuary is home to a number of large industries and employers including ESB Moneypoint, Aughinish Alumina, Tarbert Power Station and Shannon Airport. The South West Regional Action Plan for Jobs was published on 3rd July and recognises that the Ballylongford landbank has for a number of years been identified as a strategic zone for development in the areas of energy, maritime and data storage, and has identified facilitating private sector development of an LNG Plant along with a CHP plant on the Tarbert/Ballylongford landbank as an action target by Kerry County Council for Q3 2016.

In addition, actions for the greater Shannon Region are set out in the Mid-West Regional Action Plan, published on the 19th October. Both Action Plans aim to deliver employment growth of 10-15% in the regions by 2020.

EU Directives

Ceisteanna (195)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

195. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of transposing European Union Directive 2013/35/EU; how derogations provided in the directive will be implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41816/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

Directive 2013/35/EU on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) has a transposition deadline of 1 July 2016. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is the agency with responsibility for enforcing the measures which will give effect to this Directive in Ireland. The Authority, in accordance with the provisions of section 57 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, has produced a draft set of Regulations which are now being scrutinised by departmental officials in advance of settlement by legal counsel. As part of the transposition process the Authority also prepared a Regulatory Impact Assessment and this together with a set of draft Regulations was made available on the HSA website as part of a public consultation in June/July 2015. There was also a public call for submissions via the web site and the Authority sought submissions from other interested organisations including:

- The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

- The Department of Energy, Communications and Natural Resources

- Members of Electro Technical Council of Ireland (ETCI), Technical Committee (TC15), Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields

- ESB

- RTE

- Eircom

- Mobile phone operators

- Health Services Executive (HSE)

- Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC)

- Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

- Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM), RCPI

- Occupational physicians

- Medical physicists

- Medical equipment suppliers

The derogations provided for in Directive 2013/35/EU are set out in Article 10 and these derogations are mirrored in the draft Regulations currently being scrutinised. The derogation relating to military personnel contained in Directive 2013/35/EU is not explicitly stated in the draft Regulations, however section 6(2) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 outlines the circumstances where the statutory provisions of occupational safety and health legislation do not apply to members of the Defence Forces.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Ceisteanna (196)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

196. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the recent European Commission proposals to reform the global investment regime into a public investment court system, in the context of the latest discussions on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41817/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

The EU Commission’s mandate to negotiate with the United States on a free trade agreement includes in its scope (paragraphs 22 and 23), investment protection. The stated aim of negotiations on investment is to secure the highest levels of liberalisation and highest standards of protection that both sides have negotiated to date. The mandate makes it clear that the inclusion of investment protection will depend on EU interests being met and on the final balance of the Agreement. Importantly, the mandate states that the objectives of any investment protection provisions would be without prejudice to the right of EU and the Member States to adopt and enforce measures necessary to pursue legitimate public policy objectives in a non-discriminatory manner.

The aim is to promote more two-way investment between the US and EU with high standards of protection for investors. The EU’s Free Trade Agreements seek to provide EU investors abroad with a level of protection similar to that which would obtain in the EU. Equally US investors in the EU expect common investment protection standards and common redress mechanisms, and not 28 different set of standards and 28 different redress procedures.

Ireland does not have Bilateral Investment Treaties with any third country. In Ireland, private property is protected by virtue of Article 43 of our Constitution. However, in some other EU member states the protection for foreign investors from expropriation is provided through Bilateral Investment Treaties with third countries. Nine member states have such Treaties already with the US. An EU-US Trade Agreement would replace these.

On the 8th July 2015 the European Parliament voted for a resolution supporting the EU-US Trade Agreement including a reformed investment protection mechanism.

On the 12th November 2015, the EU Commission published and formally presented to the US its proposal for a new and more transparent system for resolving disputes between investors and states – the Investment Court System. This proposal is the outcome of a lengthy public consultation process with the Member States, the European Parliament, stakeholders and the public. The Commission’s proposal aims at safeguarding Government’s right to regulate and creates a new system composed of a first instance tribunal and an appeal mechanism based on clearly defined rules, with qualified judges and transparent proceedings. The proposal also includes additional improvements on access to the new system by small and medium sized companies. The new investment court system would replace the existing investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. The proposal is available on the Commission’s website at http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/html/153955.htm.

I welcome these improvements and the Commission’s efforts to follow up on the views expressed by Member States, the European Parliament and other stakeholders.

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

Ceisteanna (197)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

197. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the steps he has taken over the past four and a half years to reverse the low level of exports by the indigenous small and medium enterprise sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41818/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Jobs)

Our recovery since 2011 is founded on a deliberate policy of driving export growth across the economy and supporting successful Irish based enterprises in international markets and the measures we have taken have resulted in strong year on year growth in our export performance. Export performance is driven by many factors, including the prevailing economic conditions of our key trading partners, and recent years have seen a globally challenging environment for our indigenous exporters. Nevertheless, the latest available data shows exports of Irish goods and services to the value of €215 billion in 2014, up from €184 billion in 2013. Our strong growth in goods and services exports are being driven by sectors which we have specifically targeted as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, including the pharma and manufacturing areas. Indigenous firms are becoming more export focused with the share of sales that arise from exports on an upward trend, reaching 51% in 2014.

In 2011, EI client exports achieved €15.2bn. This exceeded the pre-recession record levels of 2008. In 2012, EI client exports achieved €16.2bn with North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America in particular recording strong double digit growth. This performance was against a backdrop of continued international uncertainty and low global growth rates. In 2013, EI client exports achieved €17.1bn with Northern Europe, North and Latin America showing strong growth. This record growth was against increasing global competition and illustrates the quality and innovativeness of Irish products and services.

In 2014, EI supported Irish exporters again achieved record exports of €18.6bn – an increase of almost 10% on 2013 figures – and the highest point in the history of the State. Growth was recorded in exports to all international regions and across all sectors.

Enterprise Ireland (EI) has a number of supports and initiatives in place to assist exporting companies. These include the Growth Fund, Potential Exporters, First Sale Programme, the International Selling Programme and sector specific Trade Missions.

Enterprise Ireland (EI) through its programmes and overseas office network will target support for clients to achieve €22 billion in exports by 2016.

The LEOs also provide support to companies that are undertaking market research, feasibility studies or who are participating in trade fairs. Other LEO initiatives to drive export activity include the Food Academy Programme, for up-and-coming food producers (in association with Bord Bia and SuperValu) and Online Trading vouchers (in partnership with the Dept. of Communications, Energy and National Resources) to support startup and smaller businesses operating in the domestic economy to access a wider market through online trading. Taken together, the National Broadband Plan and the National Digital Strategy will assist and incentivise greater use of online trading to drive exports.

Ireland’s Small Business Act (SBA) Factsheet for 2015 was published this month by the European Commission. This report shows that Ireland has one of the most SME friendly environments in the EU. Of the 10 principles contained in this policy initiative, Ireland performs above the EU average in 6 and is top of the class in two, “second chance” and “internationalisation”. Ireland’s improvement in internationalisation has been at a much faster rate than in the EU on average.

The Review of the Government Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy, 2010 – 2015, published in February 2014, developed a focus on key sectors of competitive advantage for Ireland in line with the Action Plan for Jobs. This Review provides a refocused action plan under three key themes – reputation, facilitating & enabling and winning business & jobs. In 2016, we will develop a successor to the Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy.

Furthermore, the Winning Abroad initiative under the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 has facilitated greater coordination of Embassies and State agencies abroad, ensuring that we maximise the impact of State resources in priority markets, giving them and Irish companies the best possible platform to win business overseas.

Beekeeping Industry

Ceisteanna (198, 199, 200)

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

198. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will consider, under Article 6 of the European Union treaty, banning the importation of foreign bees; if he will seek the co-operation of his Northern Ireland counterpart in this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41197/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

199. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will establish a support system for the beekeeping sector, to increase the proportion of Irish produced honey on the domestic market from its present level of 10%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41198/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

200. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will appoint bee inspectors to oversee this sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41199/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 198 to 200, inclusive, together.

The value of honey bees as pollinators far exceeds their value as honey producers. In 2008 the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government estimated the value of pollinators (including honey bees) for Irish food crops was worth at least €53m. This does not include the value of pollinators in terms of non-food crops and maintaining bio-diversity in the wild. The value of honey produced in Ireland in 2014 was estimated at slightly over €3m.

My Department recognises the importance of maintaining and further developing a healthy honey bee population. I fully recognise that a disease outbreak and especially an exotic disease outbreak, could have a significant negative impact on the Irish Bee population. With this in mind, the signing into law of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 repealed the out-dated 1908 Bee Pest Prevention Act. American Foulbrood and the Small Hive Beetle are both notifiable diseases under the Notification and Control of Animal Diseases Regulations 2014 (SI No 110 of 2014). While American Foulbrood has existed in Ireland for many years the Small Hive Beetle has never been found in Ireland. In response to the 2014 outbreak of Small Hive Beetle in Italy my Department established a sentinel apiary programme earlier this year. This programme was established with the support of the Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations and the Native Irish Honey Bee Society. Volunteer beekeepers in areas which are considered to represent greatest risk for the introduction of pests such as the Small Hive Beetle, as well as other beekeepers are participating in this programme. Over 20 beekeepers providing a representative geographical spread across the country are involved. A similar programme has also been rolled out across Northern Ireland. The sentinel apiary programme is designed with the objective of providing early notification in the event that any exotic pest or disease affecting honey bees arrives in Ireland. My Department co-ordinates the programme and has provided the equipment and guidelines to the beekeepers and also provides the diagnostic service to implement the programme.

In addition, a bee diagnostic service is operated from the Teagasc laboratories at Teagasc, Oakpark in Carlow. Analysis of approximately 300 samples submitted by beekeepers each year are carried out and my Department is informed where a case of a notifiable disease is detected. Officials in my Department follow up where appropriate.

The option of national action to limit or ban imports of bees must respect the primacy of EU Regulations. The EU has strict bee health certification requirements which apply to the international trade in bees. In accordance with Article 3 of Council Directive 92/65/EEC European Union Member States must not prohibit or restrict for health reasons the international movement of bees once all requirements set down in EU legislation have been met. Direct imports of bees into Ireland from outside the EU are not permitted although imports from other EU Member States which fulfil the EU’s bee health certification requirements are permitted.

Basic Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (201)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

201. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41229/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application under the 2015 Basic Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 29 April 2015. Processing of this application has recently been finalised and payment will issue to the nominated bank account of the person named in the near future.

Basic Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (202)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

202. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the issue of reactification has been finalised for a person (details supplied) in County Longford who is farming and who is entitled to the farm payments associated therewith; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41230/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application under the Basic Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 18 May, 2015. On examination of the application, my Department became aware of a dual claim on a land parcel between the person named and another herd owner. Both herd owners were written to in order to establish which party had an entitlement to claim the particular land parcel. On receipt of the replies from both parties, the land parcel was awarded to the person named. Following this process, payment has now issued to the nominated bank account of the person named.

Basic Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (203)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

203. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine why a person (details supplied) in County Offaly is not in receipt of a single payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41298/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application under the 2015 Basic Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 7 April, 2015. Processing of this application has recently been finalised and payment will issue to the nominated bank account of the person named in the coming days.

Basic Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (204)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

204. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will have farm payments processed; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41313/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a 2015 Basic Payment/Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme application on 29 April 2015. EU Regulations governing the administration of these schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including in some cases on farm inspections, be completed before any payments issue. The application of the person named was selected for a ground eligibility inspection. This inspection is currently being processed with the intention of issuing any payments due under the Direct Payments Schemes as soon as possible. In the event that any queries arise officials in my Department will be in contact with the person named.

Coillte Teoranta Lands

Ceisteanna (205)

Anne Ferris

Ceist:

205. Deputy Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Coillte's plans for the ongoing use of the walled garden at Kilmacurragh in County Wicklow; if those plans include the return of this historic garden and its mature trees to their rightful use as an important contextual element of the adjoining Kilmacurragh Arboretum; if such a transfer will be expedited in the interest of tourism in County Wicklow and Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41318/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Coillte Teoranta was established as a private commercial company under the Forestry Act, 1988 and day-to-day operational matters, such as the management of their forest properties, are the responsibility of the company. Coillte informs me that the Kilmacurragh site in County Wicklow, including the walled garden area, is currently an important part of the company’s nurseries operation where seeds and saplings are grown for use across their forest estate and are carrying out important research into the next generation of plants it will use in their forests. Coillte advise that there are currently no plans to change its operations on the site or its use of it as part of their nurseries operations. With reference to tourism in Co. Wicklow, Coillte advise that it provides a range of recreation facilities in County Wicklow including Mountain Bike trails in Ballinastoe, Avondale House and Forest Park outside Rathdrum and a range of other locations in the County, and works in partnership with stakeholders to explore the potential for its estate to support tourism, recreation and nature conservation projects and will continue to do this.